Where To Live
Home to more than 2.2 million people of over 200 nationalities, Abu Dhabi is a multicultural environment and the communities within the Emirate offer a variety of choices. The capital city is booming with residential developments providing families in Abu Dhabi with a plethora of options when looking for a family home. From emerging neighbourhoods such as Mohammed Bin Zayed City to more established communities such as Al Khalidiyah. How do you decide which are the best places to live in Abu Dhabi for families? This round up of top communities in Abu Dhabi will help you to find the perfect home.
Top 10 Communities In Abu Dhabi
If you want to live at the heart of the action, Yas Island is the place. It is an experience unlike any other as the area is a hot spot of activity with trendy restaurants, clubs, hotels and more. Yas Island offers a mix of high rise apartment buildings and modern villas as residential options. It is home to theme parks, a skate park, Yas Marina Circuit where the world renowned Formula One race takes place every year and one of the most visited malls in Abu Dhabi. You will have fun in every corner of this cool island.
Nearby Mall: Yas Mall
Saadiyat Island is a natural island where its original ‘guests’, hawksbill sea turtles, continue to nest. It’s also well known for luxury living, being the cultural district of Abu Dhabi and undoubtedly one of the most sought after addresses. If living next door to Louvre Abu Dhabi suits you, settle into a premium villa or apartment on Saadiyat. It includes many lush, green residential areas which are beautifully manicured with beaches and charming open sea views. Waterside retail developments such as Mamsha Al Saadiyat also make for a vibrant island life.
This area is divided into two major districts - Khalifa City and Shakhbout City respectively. Spacious villas make this area a popular choice for young couples and families with children, as it has many great schools and nurseries nearby. You can also find clusters of spacious apartments or compound communities. There are plenty of local supermarkets dotted around the area and the famous ‘Pink Shops’ is where you’ll find an eclectic mix of retailers offering everything from school supplies to custom made curtains. The Pink Shops are also home to several popular homegrown eateries such as BuTafish and Miss J Cafe. Khalifa City has several parks with greenery and basketball courts. The area is largely pedestrian and recent city improvements have seen the installation of air conditioned bus stop stations, gym equipment, biking and walking trails. With its close proximity to schools, parents do not have to worry about long daily commutes. This, combined with easy access to some excellent facilities and amenities make living in Khalifa City or Shakhbout City a great choice for families in Abu Dhabi.
Nearby Mall: Forsan Central Mall
The Mushrif area is a quiet, low rise area, with beautiful green landscapes, which offers residents the opportunity to live in a truly suburban residential community in Abu Dhabi. It is also in close proximity to some excellent schools in Abu Dhabi. Al Mushrif is located in the centre, making it ideal for those who work in the city. It is also home to the Royal Stables and the Umm Al Emarat Park which are great places for the whole family to visit.
Nearby Mall: Al Mushrif Mall
Residents living in Al Khalidiyah enjoy the best of both worlds; It’s where traditional meets modern. Al Khalidiyah boasts a combination of the authentic Emirati style with the luxury of modern developments. Al Khalidiyah features spacious apartments with the ones closer to the Corniche featuring some amazing waterfront views. Parents living in Al Khalidiyah have a plethora of options for schools and nurseries to choose from. There is the American Community School of Abu Dhabi and Al Mashreq Private School. Al Khalidiyah Park is also a big draw for families as well as the beach.
Nearby Mall: Khalidiyah Mall
Nearby Landmarks: Al Khalidiyah Park, Corniche Beach
Al Reem Island
Al Reem Island is a beautiful waterfront community with a cluster of striking high rises. The residential complexes feature pedestrian-friendly walkways, a promenade, skate park and outdoor basketball courts. The flats for rent on Al Reem Island come with luxurious amenities and state-of-the-art facilities making it one of the best places to live for singles and young couples looking for a modern lifestyle. Families enjoy life on Al Reem Island too with reputable schools close by.
Nearby Landmarks: Gateway Park, Reem Central Park
Al Reef is one of the most popular residential areas in Abu Dhabi. Considered one of the first fully integrated residential communities, Al Reef is spread over a million square metres and is designed to house 16,000 residents. The community is divided into two sub-communities: Al Reef Villas and Al Reef Downtown, which is made up of many apartments. One of the most notable things about this community is its accessible location near Abu Dhabi International Airport on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. Living in Al Reef also puts you closer to Dubai, making it an ideal choice for those who frequently commute between the two emirates. Al Reef is a self contained community with several supermarkets, gyms, pools, playgrounds, salons, eateries and even a healthcare centre. Moreover, Al Reef is known for offering good value for renters.
Nearby Schools: Amity International School
Nearby Landmarks: Abu Dhabi International Airport
Al Raha Beach
Al Raha Beach comprises three outstanding communities including Al Bandar, Al Zeina and Al Muneera. It is a developing waterfront community with new buildings under construction. The area offers a small assortment of villas and mostly striking high rises that give way to some of the best ocean views in the emirate. In addition to private beach access, you’ll have extraordinary cafes and restaurants right at your fingertips. Al Raha Beach is the epitome of coastal living in Abu Dhabi. Plus, its close proximity to Khalifa City and Yas Island expands your options for recreation and leisure.
Nearby Mall: Al Raha Mall
Nearby Schools: Al Raha International School
Nearby Landmarks: Aldar Headquarters (Circle or Coin building)
Mohammed Bin Zayed City
Mohamed Bin Zayed City is one of the most affordable areas to live in Abu Dhabi. You can rent a generously sized villa with full amenities for less than the price of what a similar property would command in a different area. Mohammed Bin Zayed City is family friendly with a plethora of schools and nurseries dotted around the area.
The 9 km long Corniche Road is one of Abu Dhabi’s most iconic roads that runs along the coastline. There are many popular public beaches, most with amenities. Boasting landscaped pathways and parks, this waterfront area is also lined with an impressively long sequence of high rise buildings that create a majestic skyline. Villa properties are limited in supply, but you can choose from many waterfront apartments with ample living space. Located at the far western end of Corniche Road, the peninsula of Al Ras Al Akhdar is where the luxurious properties of Corniche Road lie.
Here you will find commercial and residential skyscrapers such as Etihad Towers. You can find unfurnished rentals as well as well appointed fully furnished penthouse suites.
Nearby Mall: Abu Dhabi Marina Mall
Abu Dhabi has a strong property market with a variety of residential options for rent. Some employers and sponsors offer housing or a housing allowance as a benefit to employees. Consequently, expats tend to start their lives in Abu Dhabi by renting a property. According to a report by property consultancy CBRE, apartment rents rose by 1.6 per cent, while villa rents increased by 1.1 per cent in Abu Dhabi from March 2021 to March 2022. As supply continues to increase, rental rates will continue to fluctuate.
In addition to market fluctuations, rental prices depend on the location and size of the property. Landlords expect to receive the annual rental amount in one payment, however, it is possible to negotiate multiple payments through the broker or landlord. Multiple payments require submitting post dated cheques on agreed dates. Property brokers also require a commission fee of up to 5 per cent of the total rental amount.
Registering a Lease Agreement
To execute a lease contract you must have a valid residence visa and provide a copy of your passport and Emirates ID. In Abu Dhabi, landlords have to register lease contracts in the Tawtheeq system. Once the lease contract is registered, a housing fee of 3 percent of the value of the annual rent will be charged equally across 12 months. This amount will then be added to your monthly water and electricity bill.
Search for Properties in Abu Dhabi
Solving Rental Disputes
By law, tenants and landlords have to agree on any contractual changes including rate increases and a timeframe to vacate a property. In the event that a dispute arises, a resolution can be reached with the help of the Abu Dhabi Rent Disputes Settlement Committee (RDSC).
Owning A Property
Residents of Abu Dhabi can also own property in certain investment areas in Abu Dhabi city, Al Ain and the Western Region. In April 2019, the Abu Dhabi Government issued a law allowing foreign individuals (non-UAE/non-GCC nationals), and companies wholly or partially owned by expatriates, to own freehold interests in land located within the investment areas. These areas include exclusive residential districts such as Saadiyat Island, Reem Island, Al Raha Beach, Jubail Island and Yas Island. Prior to the issuance of this law, ownership of property was largely restricted to UAE and GCC nationals with foreign investors being limited to buying 99-year leases only.
Those purchasing a property of over AED 2 million or more to obtain an Abu Dhabi Golden Visa (a 10-year visa). Real estate investors are also entitled to an Abu Dhabi Golden Visa when purchasing a property with a loan from specific local banks or buying one or more off-plan properties of over AED 2 million from approved local real estate companies. However, in the case of a loan, the capital value of the investment has to be AED 2 million or more.
Setting Up Utilities
Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) is responsible for providing public utility services in the city of Abu Dhabi and its surrounding areas, while Al Ain Distribution Company provides electricity and water services in Al Ain city and its surrounding areas.
Getting electricity and water in Abu Dhabi
To set up water and electricity services in your home, you must establish an account with the appropriate service provider. Tenants can get services after registering their rental contract in the Tawtheeq system. You will need the following documents to establish services:
Required Documents for Tenants:
- Emirates ID
- Tenancy Contract
- Proof of your previous account being closed if moving from another property
Required Documents for Owners:
- Emirates ID
- Copy of the title, deed or site plan issued by Abu Dhabi Municipality
- Proof of your previous account being closed if moving from another property
Home insurance is a form of property insurance that covers losses and damages to your house. Home insurance coverage can extend to buildings, houses, contents or personal belongings in the home. Interior and exterior damage to the building’s structure, and loss or damage to personal belongings in the home due to fire, water or natural calamity, are some of the incidents that are covered by home insurance.
Abu Dhabi is a safe place to live but natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes and floods can still happen. Plus, many residents vacate their homes during the summer months, leaving them unattended, which opens up the possibility of homes sustaining damage. Legally, a landlord is only required to provide home insurance if the house is mortgaged, which only covers the physical structure of the house and not the contents of it. So, if you want to secure the value of your belongings inside your home, it is advised that you purchase home insurance, whether you rent or own property in the UAE.
Home Insurance for Tenants
If you are renting an apartment or villa you need insurance which covers the loss or damage of your personal belongings, such as furniture, electronics, jewellery, etc. This insurance will repair or replace your items following damage from fire, flooding, theft or vandalism. Your building’s landlord will most likely have an insurance plan on the apartment or villa itself, but it is your responsibility as a tenant to obtain insurance for your personal belongings.
Home Insurance for Property Owners
If you own a home, whether it is a villa or apartment, obtaining building insurance should be your first priority. This ensures that the structure of your home will be covered from any sort of damage that is stated in your policy. However, this only covers the physical structure of the residence and does not cover the contents of your home. Coverage for the contents of your home would need to be added to your insurance policy.
Cost of Home Insurance
You will need to pay a premium (an amount to be paid for a contract of insurance), so you need to evaluate plans that work best for you and compare prices. A standard insurance plan can start as low as AED 200 per year, however, the cost is dependent on how much coverage you need. There are around 50 licensed companies in the UAE that offer great insurance policies for tenants and homeowners. Some banks offer home insurance policies too so be sure to check with your personal banker for options. Learn More.